NASA Reveals What ‘Stringy Tumbleweed’ Clump Found on Mars Really Is

by Lauren Boisvert

Recently, a photo of a tangled piece of something found by NASA‘s Perseverance rover on the surface of Mars has sparked some debate among amateur scientists and casual star-watchers alike. The tumbleweed-like object looks like string, or a clump of grass, or something else stringy and clumpy. It’s baffling, and some even posited that it looked like spaghetti. Are Martians secretly known for their love of Italian cuisine?

All jokes aside, NASA has revealed the most likely answer to the question of what is that thing? They think it’s likely remnants of the contraption that was used to lower the Perseverance rover to the surface of the planet last February.

“We have been discussing where it’s from,” said a spokesperson for NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, “but there’s been speculation that it’s a piece of cord from the parachute or from the landing system that lowers the rover to the ground.”

So, not rare space spaghetti and just a piece of the rover’s landing equipment. A bit anticlimactic, but the spokesperson also added, “Note that we don’t have confirmation that it’s one or the other.” Either it’s from a parachute, or the landing system itself, but as far as NASA knows, it’s most likely from the rover. Maybe from Perseverance, or possibly from Curiosity or one of the other rovers. It definitely looks man-made, so I’m inclined to agree.

Perseverance first spotted the object with its cameras on July 12. When the rover passed by the same area again on July 16, the object was gone. Maybe it was actually a Martian creature that got up and crawled away? One can only wish. It’s likely that the object got blown away by Mars’ harsh winds. This interstellar littering is definitely the exchange we make for Perseverance’s incredible discoveries on Mars.

NASA Announces Major Details On Artemis Moon Mission

The first unmanned phase of NASA’s new moon mission, Artemis, is planned to launch on August 29. Recently, the Space Administration announced some exciting news about the project. The megarocket is currently being prepared for launch as well as the Orion spacecraft. The project also includes technology like small satellites called CubeSats and other experiments that will eventually be controlled by astronauts.

The news is that the megarocket and Orion spacecraft are still relatively new technologies. And, they’re going to be put to the test. Orion is going to experience environments, orbits, and reentry that are much more intense than what human astronauts would ever go through. This is to ensure that the technology and equipment are up to the challenge.

“Orion will venture farther than any spacecraft built for humans has ever flown,” said NASA administrator Bill Nelson in a recent press conference. “It will be on a mission of over a million miles [1.6 million kilometers] to the moon and back, in all kinds of orbits around the moon testing the spacecraft … then after its long flight test, Orion will come home faster and hotter than any spacecraft has before.”